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Philippians 3:12

No Chance for Advancement

After Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States, issued his famous “I do not choose to run” statement, he was besieged by reporters wanting details. One persistent journalist kept pressing Mr. Coolidge, “Exactly why don’t you want to be president again?” he queried. Coolidge looked him squarely in the eye. “Because,” he replied, “there’s no chance for advancement!” - D.J.D.

Our Daily Bread, Monday, April 29

Admit Our Shortcomings

Our life and work within the Christian community will go much better if we acknowledge our own shortcomings and do not make unreasonable demands on others. Adoniram Judson wrote, “In encouraging other young men to come out as missionaries, do use the greatest caution. One wrong-headed, conscientiously obstinate fellow would ruin us.” Then he described the sort of person he preferred: “Humble, quiet, persevering men; men of sound, sterling talents (though, perhaps, not brilliant), of decent accomplishments, and some natural aptitude to acquire a language; men of an amiable temper, willing to take the lowest place, to be the least of all and the servants of all; men who live near to God, and are willing to suffer all things for Christ’s sake, without being proud of it, these are the men.” Then Judson added, “But oh, how unlike this description is the writer of it!” The great pioneer missionary acknowledged his own shortcomings.

In writing to the Philippian church, Paul expressed a similar truth: None of us has attained perfection. Some of us, however, expect it in others. We make unrealistic demands of our pastors, their wives, and other Christian leaders, and we judge them unfairly. But the work of Christ will get done more quickly and efficiently if we recognize the value of others and admit that we too have shortcomings. Then, as we do our best, we can admit that like everyone else we are not perfect yet!

D.C.E., Our Daily Bread, Sunday, October 20

Dissatisfaction with One’s Talents

A certain amount of permanent dissatisfaction with one’s talents is probably a healthy thing. Those who are totally satisfied with their work will never reach their potential. The great pianist, Paderewski, achieved tremendous popularity in America.

Yet, said Paderewski, “There have been a few moments when I have known complete satisfaction, but only a few. I have rarely been free from the disturbing realization that my playing might have been better.” The world considered Paderewski’s playing near perfection, but he remained unsatisfied and kept constantly at the job of improving his talent.

Bits and Pieces, November, 1989, p. 16

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